Chester County Republican Delegation Urges Override of Veto to Fund Human Services
Noting that they are extremely concerned about the negative impact that Gov. Ed Rendell’s blue-lining of Senate Bill 850 is having on human services in Chester County, the county’s House Republican delegation is urging the state Senate to override the governor’s veto of funding for several human service items in the budget.  
“It makes no sense to us to completely eliminate funding for critical human service programs when funds exist to keep them operating,” said Rep. Chris Ross (R-Unionville) in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9) on behalf of the delegation.
In addition to Ross, other members of the delegation signing the letter include Reps. Stephen Barrar (R-Boothwyn), Tim Hennessey (R-North Coventry Township), Tom Killion (R-Westtown Township), Duane Milne (R-Malvern) and Curt Schroder (R-East Brandywine).
The lawmakers have identified the following areas of critical importance funded by the county which are also likely to face the greatest amount of immediate fiscal distress to agencies: 
  • Agriculture: State Food Purchase, $18 million.
  • Health: Assistance to Drug and Alcohol Programs, $41.75 million.
  • Health: Substance Abuse Block Grant (Drug and Alcohol Services), $56.474 million.
  • Public Welfare: Mental Health Services, $729.9 million.
  • Public Welfare: Behavioral Health Services, $42.594 million.
  • Public Welfare: Community Mental Retardation, $158.353 million.
  • Public Welfare: Human Services Development Fund, $33.346 million.
  • Public Welfare: County Child Welfare, $1.038 billion.
  • Public Welfare: Child Care Services, $159.763 million.
  • Public Welfare: Child Care Assistance, $198.147 million. 

“Since an override must begin in the Senate, we ask that you begin the process there, and we will do our best to obtain concurrence in the House if you are successful,” the lawmakers wrote.

The overrides requested by the delegation are different than those attempted by the Senate on Wednesday.  

The lawmakers noted that in some cases the amount vetoed by the governor is the same as he originally requested, and that the services can be funded at the levels proposed without requiring a tax increase. Additional funding needs can be addressed when a final budget is adopted or with supplemental appropriations.